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Question of the day

Tuesday, Feb 25, 2014

* There’s a move afoot to consolidate the four pension reform lawsuits. AP

Lawyers representing the respective groups of state retirees who filed class-action suits have asked the Supreme Court to allow them to present their cases as one.

The groups share the common claim that the new pension reform plan violates the state constitution, which says benefits may not be diminished.

Because three of the cases were filed in Sangamon County Court and another in Cook County Circuit Court, the Supreme Court must choose a court to hear a case if the motion is granted.

* The Question: Should a Sangamon or Cook County judge handle these consolidated cases? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please.


polls & surveys

- Posted by Rich Miller        


50 Comments
  1. - Bobbysox - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 12:40 pm:

    Sangamon is the place where legislation occurs, and it is the home to many public employees adversely affected by this Act. I believe the only “logical” reason to hear it in Cook County for is for purposes of political clout.


  2. - bigred - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 12:40 pm:

    In Cook, there are many more Judges and individually they are less impacted by a ruling that is against the public’s view. In Sangamon, a Judge who rules against the common view,he stands a great chance of being ousted come election time


  3. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 12:44 pm:

    Cook because it is the state capitol is located!

    Right?


  4. - anon - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 12:45 pm:

    For speed of resolution, Cook County might have the edge if the attorneys for the parties (including the AG) are located there. Otherwise, the attorneys will be asking for tons of continuances to accomodate travel.


  5. - Marty - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 12:46 pm:

    Sangamon County as it is the State Capitol, site of 3 of 4 of the suits filed, and home of the AG’s offices.


  6. - rolling meadows - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 12:46 pm:

    Sangamon because they could use the business


  7. - fed up - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 12:47 pm:

    try and find a Cook co judge no beholden to Madigan or Burke, dont know how it is in Sangamon Co but must be more legit than cook co.


  8. - anon - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 12:50 pm:

    Standard for ruling on a “Forum non conveniens” motion: In Illinois, the relevant private interest factors include “convenience of the parties; the relative ease of access to sources of testimonial, documentary, and real evidence; the availability of compulsory process to secure attendance of unwilling witnesses; the cost to obtain attendance of willing witnesses; the possibility of viewing the premises, if appropriate; and all other practical considerations that make a trial easy, expeditious, and inexpensive.” Dawdy v. Union Pacific R.R. Co., 207 Ill. 2d 167, 172 (2003).

    The relevant public interest factors include “the administrative difficulties caused when litigation is handled in a congested venue instead of being handled at its origin, the unfairness of imposing jury duty upon residents of a county with no connection of litigation, and the interest in having local controversies decided locally.”


  9. - PublicServant - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 12:51 pm:

    It would seem to me that Sangamon is the reasonable place to initially hear the case, since 3 of the lawsuits have already been filed there. It really doesn’t matter since the ISC will be making the final decision.


  10. - Irish - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 12:57 pm:

    Chicago needs the reform to stand, so it can do the same to it’s employees and retirees. So the further away from all the influences in chicago the better. Sangamon is the place. Besides it is 3 to 1 in Sangamon anyway


  11. - He Makes Ryan Look Like a Saint - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 1:01 pm:

    Sangamon, I believe that is the place of the STATE CAPITOL.


  12. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 1:05 pm:

    Sangamon County. Fewer accusations of political fixins.


  13. - A guy... - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 1:06 pm:

    Said Cook because there’s a better roster of judges to look at there. This is a major league case. It should be in a major league court circuit. Having said that, if you offered me Des Moines, I would have taken it.


  14. - Robert the Bruce - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 1:08 pm:

    Cook. Too many public employees in Sangamon County, so judges there might be personally pressured to take the union’s side. That’s my best effort to explain my vote, which actually boils down to “I hope the law is upheld, and Cook gives this a better chance.”

    Not sure that it matters - won’t this be going to the Supremes no matter which way it is initially decided?


  15. - Norseman - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 1:14 pm:

    I believe the story is incorrect. The AG filed the motion to consolidate in Cook. Attorneys for the 3 downstate lawsuits have objected to the move. I believe there was another more accurate story in one of the papers that mentioned that the retired teachers thought their suit should stand on its own. With them in Cook and the others consolidated in Sangamon. Whether that is true, I don’t know.

    To the post, I voted for Sangamon. Concerned that Cook judicial system may be too tied in to Madigan - yes, you can slap me for the tinfoil hat.


  16. - plutocrat03 - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 1:15 pm:

    Cook County, that who pays the bill…..


  17. - MrJM - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 1:20 pm:

    Judge Brockton Lockwood (ret.): “You could buy a judge up there [in Cook County] cheaper than you can buy an attorney down here, and you knew what the outcome would be.”

    – MrJM


  18. - M Python - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 1:22 pm:

    The Arizona court that recently ruled upheld their constitution.


  19. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 1:25 pm:

    What’s the difference? The case will ultimately be decided by the Supreme Court.


  20. - Nieva - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 1:25 pm:

    I hope it is heard at Springfield. No particular reason except my next raise is riding on it.


  21. - G'Kar - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 1:29 pm:

    I voted Sangamon simply because in my gut I don’t trust Cook county. I realize that is probably just my downstate bias at work (that’s not meant to be a snark or anything else, it is simply my gut feeling!).


  22. - YO - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 1:42 pm:

    I voted Sangamon. Guess that’s my upstate bias against the corrupt Cook


  23. - gesquire - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 1:50 pm:

    I’d roll the dice with the Cook Co. Chancery Division. Remember Judge Billik ruled against Quinn on the union pay increases.


  24. - kcjenkins - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 1:52 pm:

    This appears to be a motion under Supreme Court Rule 384. The standard is fairly elastic — consolidation occurs where it would “serve the convenience of the parties and witnesses and would promote the just and efficient conduct” of the actions. Assuming the motion is granted, the forum is likely to depend on where the majority of the witnesses are located — Sangamon or Cook.


  25. - Just Observing - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 1:53 pm:

    I vote for a Pope County judge.


  26. - Under Further Review - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 2:23 pm:

    There will be greater accountability outside of Chicago.


  27. - dupage dan - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 2:48 pm:

    I wonder how much it matters since all 4 cases will end up at the IL SC. Springfield is the capitol. It is where legislation originates. It should start there.


  28. - Skeptic - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 3:04 pm:

    Can we vote for Madison county? Maybe then it would not only be voted unconstitutional, but with a bit fat punitive award too!


  29. - Walker - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 3:17 pm:

    Don’t care much, since the jurists will do their best on such a public issue.

    If there’s any potential location bias, I actually think it’s less in Cook Co.


  30. - SAP - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 3:25 pm:

    Sangamon, because I think it is biased in favor of the plaintiffs.


  31. - RNUG - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 3:27 pm:

    Sangamon - primarily because it is the theoritical State Capitol, the meeting location of the General Assembly that enacted the law, where 3 of the suits were filed, and probably the county with the most state employees / retirees.

    Having said that, if it goes to the ISC in the next year or so, it ends up in Chicago anyway because that is where the ISC temporarily is.


  32. - x ace - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 4:04 pm:

    Mr. MJM above via the Lockwood quote says it all.


  33. - D.P.Gumby - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 4:35 pm:

    Most all Sangamon judges elected as Republicans; most all Cook judges elected as Democrats. Does it really matter?


  34. - PoolGuy - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 4:40 pm:

    Sangamon as for reasons previously mentioned and just so whatever decision is made it doesn’t have the perception of Cook County taint. grants ISC will make final ruling/decision.


  35. - Levois - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 4:45 pm:

    Sangamon County would be considered neutral territory compared to Cook County. Add that to the many who state that Sangamon is the home county to this state’s capitol!


  36. - Skirmisher - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 4:47 pm:

    Sangamon is central in the state and home of the state capitol. Those most impacted ate concentrated in Sangamon. So Sangamon it is. I admit also there is a strong perception in my part of the world that there is no branch of government in Cook County, judiciary included, who are not beholden to those in charge of the Democrat political machine. The only reason the Governor could possibly want to change the venue to Chicago is to stack the deck in his favor.


  37. - Jack Handy - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 5:01 pm:

    Arizona. Less Madigan influence … maybe.


  38. - Earl Shumaker - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 5:16 pm:

    I voted for Springfield because Madigan is in control of Chicago politics


  39. - DuPage - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 5:29 pm:

    In Cook County the decision would be suspect, either way.


  40. - Mama - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 5:41 pm:

    Cook County because Sangamon Co heard the case against the State for charging retirees a fee for their health insurance. Free Health Ins is a benefit and charging a fee is a diminishment. We all know how the Sangamon County court ruled in that case. No good!


  41. - amIrepresented - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 5:49 pm:

    Anyone know if the lawsuit(s) will cover the group of people who have left state employment, are vested, but are not yet eligible for retirement?


  42. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 6:14 pm:

    The State Universities Annuitants Association is supposedly going to file a suit in Champaign County at some point in the near future.


  43. - Norseman - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 6:22 pm:

    === Anyone know if the lawsuit(s) will cover the group of people who have left state employment, are vested, but are not yet eligible for retirement? ===

    I don’t recall that any of the suits reference this specific cohort. However, I believe that they need to address every permutation of affected state employee. The overall intent is to overturn the changes made by the law. This will have a beneficial effect on all prospective retirees and current retirees.


  44. - Norseman - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 6:23 pm:

    Oops, meant “DON’T” need to address …


  45. - amIrepresented - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 6:38 pm:

    Thanks Norseman.


  46. - RNUG - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 7:01 pm:

    Norseman,

    Expect there will be a full house tomorrow at RSEA. I’m planning to be there; should be interesting.


  47. - foster brooks - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 7:11 pm:

    what county was involved in silver shovel?


  48. - Norseman - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 7:27 pm:

    RNUG, should be crowded. Look forward to hearing more on this subject. Be nice to keep the venue here.


  49. - CLYDE - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 8:16 pm:

    We have a better chance in Sangamon Co., than Cook, hopefully the judges will be fair!


  50. - Draznnl - Wednesday, Feb 26, 14 @ 12:37 am:

    Sangamon because it’s less likely the judge will owe his job to Mike Madigan.


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